Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, September 1, 2011 24 Comments

    Facebook announcing music streaming through facebook.com at F8

    Madonna said it best – music makes the people come together.

    I’m something of an early adopter of “online music”. Sean Fanning went to my High School (sure, he was a freshman when I graduated and is now a millionaire…sigh…) and my addiction to LimeWire crashed my family’s computer at least a dozen times. I was the type that updated the song on my MySpace profile with great frequency, even. All told, the rise of music streaming marks one of the most significant impacts the internet has had on my life.

    A few years ago, Pandora was my jam. For the uninitiated, Pandora lets you create “stations” based on a specific artist/song. It will then serve up “similar” songs based on that selection. What a fantastic tool for discovering new music! (I owe my awareness of/love for the Black Keys to Pandora). It applied intelligence to these selections by enabling you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the songs it played. I managed that ish like Joe Jackson – I was on it, and if any of my stations served up something I didn’t like, those songs were dealt with in the harshest way possible (that’s right, thumbs down to YOU Pussycat Dolls!) The problem is, when I gave a thumbs up to an artist, say, I don’t know, Justin Timberlake, those songs began to permeate my other channels. When you’re in the mood for Slipknot, JT mixing in just does not work.

    Craving more control, I jumped on the GrooveShark bandwagon. Now, let me say this plainly – Grooveshark has changed my life. You have access to the music collections of the estimated 35,000,000 users!! I’ve yet to search for a song/artist and not get something back – even my beloved Josh Homme’s Dessert Sessions are on there, and you should hear the Chieftans/Dropkick/assorted bagpipe/12 versions of “toura loura” mix I made for Saint Patrick’s Day.  You choose your songs, add them to a list, and that list lives forever.  The only problem – no mobile app?! (Give that a big ol’ #WTF. Come on, Grooveshark.) Of course, this left me stranded at a party a few weekends ago that needed DJ RedHeadMeag’s touch.

    Enter Spotify. Like the rest of the Twitterverse, I used Klout to gain access to this much buzzed about service. But I got there and….meh. Where was the selection? That’s a bandwagon with a personal best high bounce rate – 2 tries, and I was out.  Did I walk away too quickly? (comments and thoughts are welcome!)

    Now, I’m reading that Facebook is going to announce at F8 later this month that they’re partnering with Spotify (and others) to stream music through FB.com. Check out the Mashable story: http://mashable.com/2011/08/31/facebook-music-platform/

    Adding reco’s based on what my friends like? Hmmm. I’m friends with a pretty musically diverse group of individuals – I’m not sure that this is really going to do it for me.  Also – I like free.

    Are you excited about this launch? What is your favorite music service?

     

     

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  • Facebook

    Ginny Pitcher | Thursday, July 28, 2011 23 Comments

    Martini or another Facebook friend?

    Tell me to purge my life of sugar, caffeine, um…alcohol, and I’ll start listing reasons why these vices are so very critical to my every day life, and I may even throw in that they are very much part of my every day charm. I mean I know they are bad for me. They don’t care whether I’m up or down, happy or sad, funny or dull, but I’m okay with that. They give me something and for that I am eternally grateful and they willingly have a friend for life.

    The funny thing is that there are very few things that I would tolerate in my life that treat me with such disregard. After all, who needs apathy? And, yet, for years I have carried the burden and weight of a very draining vice that I truly can no longer tolerate – the passive Facebook friend.

    You know whom I’m talking about. We’ve all got them. You get a friend request from an old high school friend. Yeah, maybe you weren’t that close, but she always seemed cool and didn’t she date that really hot football player? Or, maybe it’s an old co-worker whom you always thought was going to go places and now he’s friending you! Or, maybe it’s just a random friending. You know the kind that you would never do: the spouse of a current friend, a friend of a friend, a non-friend of a friend.

    But, for years, I didn’t care. I accepted friend requests like I might accept a Grey Goose very dry martini, straight up with a twist (I’m just saying, in case you were thinking of buying me a drink sometime). Anyway, I accepted these friends and never looked back. Never noticing if they ever shared something with me on my wall, commented on my posts, LOL’d at a picture, whatever.

    And then, a few weeks ago, I thought to myself. Why am I doing this? I get tremendous joy from Facebook. I have reconnected with old friends, sparking new conversations and moments to share. I have been able to lament about my bad days and rejoice in my great days, and have found true friends who care about my state – happy or sad. So, why would I open my world to someone who had absolutely no interest in it…other than stalking?

    For some, I suppose, the number of Facebook friends you have legitimizes your very being. We are often judged by what others perceive as success – the car you drive, the house you own, the job you hold, the number of connections you have. Facebook lets everyone see this, especially that elusive “number of connections” you have. And so I’m sure for some that’s a good thing. But, for me at least, I like to get something in return. If you’re going to see a picture of my latest feast at my favorite summer haunt or read a “he said what?” quote from my sometimes funny and often cringe-worthy 9-year-old son, I’m going to want to hear from you. Facebook is my conversation with my world, a two-way conversation. And, if you’re going to be my friend I would expect the occasional thumbs up, “eww…gross” comment, a shared ridiculous video, or some other touch base. Isn’t that what friends do?

    So, I did the unthinkable. I took my almost 750 friends (I might be embellishing here) and purged them down to 300. And let me tell you…it felt great.  I looked at each person and asked myself: When was the last time he or she reached out? Has he or she ever written on my wall after friending me? Honestly, if you really cared about staying connected to me why not check in now and again? Say hello, comment on a post, “like” my photo.

    For some, it may have been a bit of shock when they couldn’t see my wall or follow my conversations, but my guess is that for most, they didn’t even notice. And, with that, I raise my martini in one hand, Tangy Taffy in another and bid adieu to one vice that I can happily quit.

    How about you? Have you ever thought about purging your friends on Facebook?

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  • Facebook

    Jayne Seward | Monday, July 25, 2011 62 Comments

    Hi. My name is Jayne, and I’m a Foursquareaholic.

    @jayneseward: I just unlocked the “Ten Hundred” badge on @foursquare!

    As a self-proclaimed “social media addict”, it comes as no surprise that my addiction spans across the entire social media landscape, including foursquare, the location-based social network that is taking the world by storm.

    Being the avid foursquare user and lover that I am, I personally believe that there is nothing like the feeling of excitement and delight that comes with receiving a new badge. Those outside of the social media world may not understand how something so insignificant can make someone like me feel so accomplished; but for those of us who view social media as an essential part of our existence, receiving a new badge on foursquare is a means of proving our worthiness within this social media-driven world.

    Just last month, foursquare announced a major milestone for the location-based social network: a whopping 10 million users! And just a week after this newsbreak, my Twitter feed announced an even bigger milestone: @jayneseward just unlocked the “Ten Hundred” badge on @foursquare! Finally, after a year+ of checking in at almost every place I go to, I have officially checked-in to over 1,000 venues. Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it!

    Foursquare has been such a big part of my social media world and everyday life over the last year in so many ways. Without it, I would’ve never been able to bar hop thru NYC without even making a dent in my wallet. I wouldn’t have known where to park for free when I showed up for my interview at the @KelAndPartners office a few months back. I would’ve never been crowned the “official” Mayor of Skellig, Bentley University’s go-to bar on Thursday nights. But most importantly, I would have never been able to show my friends and family just how fun and useful social media can be.

    With 3 million check-ins occurring each day, about 400,000 businesses using foursquare as a marketing tool, and 358 million check-ins now occurring outside the United States, all I have to say is this: If foursquare is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

    For all my fellow social media addicts out there- what’s the most exciting foursquare badge you’ve ever received?

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  • Facebook

    Deirdre Carey | Tuesday, July 12, 2011 21 Comments

    Facebook – The New Love Connection?

    As a single, 44 year old divorced woman, I’ve been in and out of the dating scene for about 8 years now. And boy, how times have changed. I remember a long time ago when we young gals would meet guys at local bars, work parties, or even weddings (which is where I met my future ex-husband.)

    Then along came Match.com. At first, no one would ever conceive of admitting to going to find a date, heaven-forbid, at an online dating site – that would mean you were desperate, right? WRONG! Well, with Match.com’s almost instant success, opinions quickly changed – and everyone was uploading Match profiles (I hate to say it, but I know of people who weren’t even single who joined to “see what was out there and available!”) On a happy note, I personally have five friends who have met & married someone they met on an online dating site.

    While perusing the Today Show website this morning, I came upon a story that piqued my curiosity - “Hot or Not” Facebook app leads to marriage.

    In a nutshell, three-years ago a Brazilian woman named Gisele (not to be confused with the other famous Gisele from Brazil who I’m convinced stole my soon-to-be 2nd husband Tom Brady) posted a picture of herself not only on her Facebook profile, but also on the Facebook app “Hot or Not.” Gisele, a flight attendant, had broken up with her boyfriend and was trying to get back into the dating scene.

    Low and behold, a gentleman by the name Gavin Jenkins found Gisele “Hot” and months of IMing, emailing and Skyping lead to a first date and ultimately marriage!

    Why did this idea work? According to Gisele, being able to see his pictures on his Facebook page, and learning about his hopes and dreams from his profile information was what sealed the deal for her. Gavin proudly confesses, “I have a lot to thank Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for. He helped me find my soulmate – I definitely owe him a pint.”

    It is an interesting concept, don’t you think? If you’ve ever created a profile page on an online dating site, you’ll know that you’re instructed to fill out pages and pages of information about yourself. And for those who have (me) filled one out, you write and edit, and write and edit in the hopes that you sound interesting, and intelligent, and witty and fun, in the hopes of attracting someone with similar personalities and interests –while weeding out any Ted Bundy’s or sounding too much like The Virgin Mary/Tara Reid!

    But with Facebook, I’m guessing about 80% of the profiles are legit. Your page clearly showcases who you are – through your status updates, images, causes you belong to/support , what you are passionate about, what brings you joy, and your true beliefs.

    I’m thinking we’ll see more Gavin & Gisele stories popping up in the near future, don’t you? And I have to agree that this may be a great way to met someone – because both of you get to see the real deal!

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  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, June 23, 2011 21 Comments

    #Bruins

    The past week in Boston can be described in one word – #winning. Along with “black and yellow black and yellow” on constant repeat. After 39 years, the Bruins finally won the Stanley cup and Boston could not have been more alive.

    Now, I have to admit, I am not the most loyal Bruins fan and I may be considered as “jumping on the bandwagon”. But, I don’t care, I waited in line for almost two hours to watch game 5, stayed awake until 2 a.m. after they won, and woke up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to make it to the parade. Points for trying? I think so. Throughout the games and celebrations, I could not help but notice the #Bruins as a trending topic. I mean, let’s face it, this was a huge win for Boston so being a trending topic was expected.

    Twitter was my number one source for all my information before and after the big win. When were the bars closing? Twitter answered. What bars were already packed before I even left worked? Twitter answered. Where were the Bruins celebrating on Friday night? Twitter answered. Did I stalk them? Maybe. Twitter ’s hash tag has completely changed the ways of communication and was the ultimate resource guide for all #Bruinsnews. The Twitter /social geek in me could not help but notice how everyone took to his or her phones instantly after the win and throughout the parade. I was able to track the parade due to Facebook and Twitter. It truly incredible how much Twitter impacts events, sports, TV shows, etc.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Twitter has truly changed the ways of communication. Now, heads will turn to the Red Sox in hopes of another World Series. After all, they don’t call us title town for nothin’.

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, April 28, 2011 22 Comments

    Let’s get it on…line

    As a PR person, I am a rabid consumer of media. I subscribe to 12+ magazines and get giddy the days they arrive in my mailbox. My day always begins by flipping between Today, The Early Show and the local news stations. On my drive in to work, I listen the radio every day, flipping between local stations and NPR.

    But the biggest rock of crack in my pipe (to borrow a phrase from Kel Kelly) comes from the internet. I subscribe to dozens of newsletters from media sites and bloggers to have news delivered to my inbox, all fresh and ready for me when I get in to work. My Google RSS feed should have it’s own internet zip code. And Twitter….ah, Twitter. I follow every mass media outlet known to (wo)man, use TweetDeck to separate news sources by topic so at a glance I can consume dozens of pieces of information to stay on top of what is going on. My friends share tons of news via Facebook, and Facebook Connect enables me to communicate with them about the stories they read across the internet. What a wonderful world!

    My dependence on the internet to stay up-to-date becomes most apparent on those oh-so-busy days when I find myself with several out of office client meetings, on location for news segments and knee deep in pitching. If I go a day without checking Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Business Insider, CNN, Slate (and many more) – the next day, I am shocked to realize how much has happened without me even knowing it. I can’t imagine my life without internet news to stay informed.

    What about you? Is the internet your primary news source? What is your favorite media format?

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  • Facebook

    Deirdre Carey | Friday, April 15, 2011 17 Comments

    Pink Toes – Oh No!

    Have you seen the new J. Crew ad called “Saturday with Jenna?” OMG – it is causing quite a stir! The ad was featured recently on the Today Show, and has taken center stage on talk shows, in newspaper headlines & blog posts.

    The “controversial” ad, which was emailed to customers, shows one of J. Crew’s top creative directors, Jenna Lyons, painting her young, toe-headed son Beckett’s tootsies hot pink.  Clearly mom and son appear to be giggling and having some fun!

    The caption below the picture reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

    So why does the pink polish have some many parents & doctors seeing red?

    “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.

    Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

    “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna’s indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. “J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”

    Really people? Really?

    Personally, I find it a bit comical that people are in such an uproar about this.  But we’re all entitled to our own opinions, right??

    But, I have to say, I’m with J. Lo and Gwen Stefani on this one – “it’s only paint, people!”  Let kids explore, be creative, and express themselves!  Last week I bought my 13 year old son a pink Abercrombie shirt to match a pair of very stylish plaid shorts, and didn’t give it a second thought.  You know what I think? BIG DEAL!

    So what do you think? Do you feel this ad promotes gender identity confusion in our kids?  What will become of poor pretty-in-pink-toed Beckett?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, March 17, 2011 34 Comments

    Twitter’s Turning 5 – A Twitterholic’s Musings on Why Twitter Matters

    In early celebration of Twitter’s 5th birthday, I’m ready to admit it – my name is RedHeadMeag, and I am a Twitterholic. I cannot imagine a day without it. Twitter is, for me, an essential part of my existence – a part of my morning routine, my every day work here at Kel & Partners, and even the last thing I do before washing up for bedtime. I view Twitter as a media outlet that I customize to my widely varied interests – from recipes to Boston sports to literature, music, gossip and more. Twitter lets me stay on top of a huge amount of information that is relevant to all of the many hats I wear in my life as a woman, a wife, a puppy mommy, a marketer and a human being.

    In PR and Marketing, we’re tasked with staying on top of all of the news in our clients’ industries. I can remember the early days of my career, when I read at least 4 newspapers a day and 35+ magazines each month – all cover to cover (imagine that, younglings). Now, I pop over to TweetDeck a couple of times an hour and scan the columns I have set up for each client. I monitor analysts, reporters, media and bloggers in my clients’ industries – and even their competitors – in small doses 7 days a week. How did I get it all done before Twitter?

    When I come across breaking news, I head to Twitter before anywhere else. Last week’s incredibly tragic #tsunami in Japan is a fantastic example of why – news from hundreds of sources is at my finger tips, resources of perspective and how to help – Twitter pulls in all aspects of a story in an instantaneous format that leaves me the room to digest what is going on at my own speed, while giving me a platform for sharing my own thoughts and feelings. At times like these, it is amazingly comforting to be able to connect with my fellow humans and see the outpouring of care and concern being felt across the world.

    For all of these reasons and more, I am continuously amazed at the slow to no adoption of the platform by the Millennial generation. With stats on Twitter usage showing that less than 7% of the American public is actively using the service, and that only 22% of us are responsible for 90% of the content on the site, I’m left scratching my head. As a Twitter evangelist, I’ve heard all of the “Twatter” jokes (ok, ok – it is funny) and the “I don’t need to let people know what I had for breakfast” lines – how is it that these people and so many others don’t see what I see?

    So why are you – or why are you NOT – on Twitter?

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  • Facebook

    Kendyll Messina | Tuesday, December 7, 2010 16 Comments

    How to $pend Your Holiday in the City of Boston

    If you’re excited to celebrate the holiday season, look no further than our own city of Boston. There is plenty to see and do, whether its just you or with friends and family. Okay- maybe you’re thinking after all of your holiday shopping, with what budget you have left, how will you possibly be able to experience any holiday splendor? That’s where I come in. Just call me a Christmas miracle, because I have planned an entire weekend’s worth of merry activities for under $40.

    We all know the everyday, scenic beauty of the Boston Commons; add some Christmas lights, music, and a skating rink and you have a winter wonderland right in the heart of the city! Don’t miss out on walking through the Boston Commons with the official Christmas tree lit amongst the hundreds of other sparkling sights. Then have a skate around the historic Boston Common Frog Pond for $4 and a skate rental of $8. This is sure to be a tradition you’ll come back to every year.

    Missed a gift on your list, or need a FREE picture with Santa? Make your way to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for a fun-filled day of dance parties, Santa himself, and of course more lights! Aside from being the most famous spot in Boston for shopping and dining, through the month of December Faneuil Hall is host to many holiday events like the Jukebox Dancers Rockin’ Holiday Parties – every weekend come join the party! Don’t forget your free picture with Santa – compliments of Globe Santa, with just a small donation you can help The Globe give underprivileged kids all over greater Boston a gift this holiday season. And be sure to stick around until they turn the lights on to view New England’s tallest holiday tree, towering over 80 feet!

    Now, with a $40 budget you may be surprised to learn that the Top of the Hub is my next destination. Does eating a mouth-watering chocolate chip cookie while the sound of jazz fills the air and you view the city of Boston sounding good to you…? Keep reading. For $13, after 8pm you can enjoy the musical stylings of the Top of the Hub jazz bands, order a plate of a dozen cookies surrounded by a mountain of cinnamon-flavored Chantilly cream, and watch the city’s Christmas lights turn on from atop the Prudential Center.

    Now, I haven’t even mentioned the phenomenal holiday performances, breakfasts with Santa, or festive craft fairs around the city, but if you are able to cross off everything on my planned agenda be sure to check out more holiday happenings at the Boston.com Calendar. If you know of any other seasonal festivities in Boston that won’t break the bank please feel free to share! Thanks for reading and have a very happy holiday!

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  • Facebook

    Jennifer Brogan | Monday, November 8, 2010 9 Comments

    A Boston Startup I’m Loving

    Let’s set the scene here. You just survived a long day at work, and you climb up the stairs of your city apartment building with high hopes for an evening of relaxation. But what’s that on your front door? Oh man, it’s the dreaded InfoNotice from UPS that reads, “No one was available when we tried to deliver your shipment.” Let me tell you a little something, Brown. I, like many Americans, work from 8-6pm and will never, as long as my career shall last, be available when you attempt to drop off my shipment.

    So, like routine, you log onto website to have the package held at the local warehouse for pick-up. And this is my favorite part. Is the warehouse open on weekends? No sir! Much too convenient that way. Instead, you must retrieve your package prior to 7:30pm on a weeknight. Sounds reasonable. Sure – until you arrive, and every other person in the city of Boston with a job (I exaggerate – but not by much) is also standing in line with their respective InfoNotices. Average amount of time wasted standing in line? I usually clock in at about 25 minutes.

    (Note: Thankfully, I have a car in the city. This warehouse retrieval process is virtually impossible if you don’t. Take it from someone who has walked 2.5 miles with an 8×10 Pottery Barn rug in tow. Not fun.)

    Now all of this griping brings me to a new startup based here in Boston that has come to save day: PickupZone. I was beyond thrilled when I heard about this company at a recent event at Babson College. Finally, someone gets it!

    PickupZone has teamed up with local retailers like Walgreens, True Value, and Ace Hardware in your city, where you can have your packages delivered. And there are no InfoNotices here. You get a friendly e-mail when your package has arrived at your local PickUpZone Pickup Point, which you can grab at your convenience within 10 days. So, you can just pick it up when you’re out running your evening errands, and probably had one of these shops on the “To Do” list anyhow.

    And get this – even if you’ve already received an InfoNotice, you can have that package forwarded to your PickupZone Pickup Point and avoid the warehouse line. Genius!!

    I can’t wait to test this out with my next online purchase. Has anyone else given it a try?

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